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Message from the Chair

A Message from the Chair

On 'Walker' with PD Steve Robin.jpeg
Board Chair David McWhirter (left) on set with PD Steve Robin (right)

I am honored to serve as the new Board Chair for the DGPTP.


The Assistant Director's Training Program was a lifeline for me when I was accepted in 1991. Prior to that, I could see the big, beautiful Studio lots through the gates, but had no idea how to make it inside. My DGPTP experience was incredible, learning so much so fast, and I was struck by the overall kindness of people I met working in the TV/Film industry.


My first show was Star Trek, The Next Generation. The AD Team was amazing: Brad Yacobian, Doug Dean, Adele Simmons, and Arlene Fukai. On day one, the first task was greeting Brent Spiner ('Data') as he entered Paramount. I was full of excitement, buzzing around like a hummingbird with my walkie talkie as he calmly walked alongside, listening patiently to what he already knew: I would like him to please go to makeup. He did so smoothly that day, and every day. In fact, the entire Cast and Crew were terrific and many of them mentored me in one form or another. I even got to 'run the set' briefly near the end of my time there; it was thrilling and an awesome start to my AD journey!


Fast Forward to 2013, when I became a member of the DGPTP Board. It felt full circle and very fulfilling to help choose each year's new class of Trainees, as well as being a part of various committees; even occasionally speaking to the class on weekends. My fellow Board members are impressive in their accomplishments, as well as their humanity and humility. We are a family.


Currently, I direct Television full time, having gotten a break on 'The Closer' in 2009, courtesy of James Duff, Michael Robin, Rick Wallace, and Kyra Sedgwick. I love it and am forever grateful: This all started with the DGPTP.


Happy 2024 to all. I feel confident we will, as a team, have a successful year !!



David McWhirter

Board Chair, Director's Guild-Producer Training Plan

DGA Member

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